A Rail Road to Economy

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

The liberal is out and the conservative is in! This tiny village in the southern Rocky Mountains that has been desperate to re-invent itself after Corporate America bent it over and fucked it just elected a new mayor bent on keeping out the one industry that might be able to shock the village awake. The village has been on life support for four years and the conservative, anti-drug Mayor-elect is bent on creating his own Stepford village of an America that barely even existed.

John Ortega photographed here being sworn into the Questa Village Council.

The cannabis industry in America can be analogized to a steam locomotive in the late 19th century barreling through the wild west of superstition and tradition leaving a civilized order in its wake. And the churches and anti-drug coalitions are the native Americans.

John Ortega‘s naïve attitude towards recreational drug use blinds him from the economic opportunities that the growing cannabis industry can offer the Village of Questa. Questa, like much of small-town America, remains in the grip of a religious influence that thrives off stoking fears of alternative methods and mindsets, changing demographics, and shifts in human migration in which anti-drug sentiments are rooted. Hopefully Mayor-elect Ortega will prioritize Questa’s economic needs over any personal apprehensions toward the cannabis plant. The Mayor-elect and the incoming Village Councilor will be sworn into their respective offices come April.

In a time of high-priced commodities, real estate, and just about everything else municipalities need any source of revenue onto which the they can get their greedy, capitalist claws if they are to fulfill a semblance of their duty to the public they serve. Regardless of whichever archaic, supposedly all-powerful entity you pray for, we all speak the language of financial exchanges. The fact is that cannabis can bring in money for many communities throughout small-town America struggling to survive in a global marketplace.

From left to right: Councilor-elect Jason Gonzalez, outgoing Councilor Charlie Gonzales, outgoing Mayor Mark Gallegos, Councilor Louise Gallegos, Mayor-elect John Ortega (Election Day, 3/4/2022).

The Election of 2016: a Potential Catalyst for New American Populism

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

Looking back on the United States presidential election of 2016, I can theorize about how a political novice like Donald Trump won the election and how his rhetoric resonated with lower-class Americans. Trump used simplistic language in his speeches, providing little details regarding public policy and appealed to an instinctive anger against an economic system that rewards the most ruthless among us while punishing the most empathetic. Empty promises to create more American jobs, disregarding the interconnected nature of the globalized 21st century economy, appeals to low-income and (formally) uneducated voters who care first and foremost about what can be done for them in the short-term. President Donald Trump’s victory in 2016 is a reflection of several institutional failures in America, first and foremost the failure of our educational institutions in their mission to teach critical thinking skills as well as historical contexts for our most pressing political issues.

The blame for our institutional failures lay at both ends of our proverbial political spectrum: the so-called Left-wing and Right-wing. Judging by the corporate media pundits who dominate our television stations and air waves, the Left-wing seems to consist of pathological desires to force more equitable outcomes out of our economic system while disregarding the irony of authoritative measures for supposedly populace outcomes, and the Right-wing seemingly consists of a dogmatic rejection of any populist, Keynesian policy which has proven its effectiveness in every other industrialized nation preferring a rigid alliance with private interests at the expense of public interests.

American news networks have also failed Americans as they have created a political environment in which partisan laborers for one or another of our political duopoly simply shout and demean each other while not actually listening to each other, seemingly incapable of any nuanced critique of each other’s ideas. A lack of nuance in news media can be just as dangerous as government propaganda because it breeds ideological converts rather than thinkers and analysts.

American educational institutions focus on stylistic and superficial job preparation rather than long-term, skills-based career building and philosophical study. Collegiate scholars today seem more concerned with earning the “right” degree for the sake of making a living rather than expanding their understanding of history and the world and earning the confidence to challenge existing power structures. Students of political science in particular seem more concerned with starting a career with the political party of their choice rather than building new paradigms for social organization.

The election of 2016 presented Americans with two negative options: a candidate representing a status quo already failing most Americans and a candidate representing a pseudo-populist reform with late-capitalism pulling the strings – the same old shit or a new brand of shit sprayed with a bottle of CK One cologne.

Whereas half of American voters do not even participate in our elections every four to eight years, I think this corruption-induced apathy presents an opportunity for alternative political candidates and parties. We have already seen an outspoken socialist win and retain a municipal seat in Seattle, Washington, one of the U.S.A.’s major cities. Populists, reformers, liberals, and socialists need to capitalize on this opportunity to subvert the corrupt duopoly of our two largest political parties and build coalitions across the nation, capturing local seats and building local bases of power that actually resonate with Americans. I think President Joe Biden has proved himself to be just as ineffectual as President Trump at manifesting the will of the people. I suggest new leadership is needed in America, leadership that is neither red nor blue.

Old Address, Out-of-Date Voting

I went to a polling place today to vote in a local election and I was confused when I realized that my new address was not updated in the City of Albuquerque’s list of registered voters.  Earlier this year, I relocated from Albuquerque’s District 1 (West ABQ) to District 6 (Nob Hill) and immediately re-registered to vote (as I usually do).  Perhaps municipalities should update their voter registration records more frequently, but what do I know?

I still voted this morning, I just had to vote for my former neighborhood rather than my current neighborhood; not a big deal in the macro.

(If I’m missing something, let me know in the comments section below.  Don’t forget to tell me how big of an idiot I am.)

 

Five Thirty Eight: “Why the House and Senate are Moving in Opposite Directions”

“At first, I was a little skeptical of the narrative that Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process could send the House and Senate moving in opposite directions.  Usually in politics, a rising tide lifts all boats — so whichever party benefited from the Supreme Court nominee’s confirmation would expect to see its fortunes improve in both its best states and districts and its worst ones.

But a House-Senate split is exactly what we’re seeing in the Five Thirty Eight forecast (Nate Silver, Five Thirty Eight, 2018).”

 

#Election2016 – we’re in the home stretch!

By Dylan R.N. Crabb

 

The year is now 2016 – an election year in the United States, one that has enormous potential for the future of American politics.  The voter turnout this November will determine the nation’s next president and the field of contenders is crowded.

On the Democratic side of the arena, we have Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley as the primary contenders.  Hillary Clinton is a former US Senator, and a former US Secretary of State as well as the wife of (former) President Bill Clinton.  Recently, Mrs. Clinton has addressed issues relating to social equality (equal rights between males and females, heterosexuals and homosexuals, etc.), economic reform, immigration reform, and national security (national security and immigration reform are looking to be ongoing topics of discussion throughout this election cycle).  You can listen to Hillary Clinton discuss her economic vision for the nation in this recorded C-SPAN production here.  Although Mrs. Clinton is currently leading her two opponents (according to RealClearPolitics), she has been labelled as a “flip-flopper by critics.  A video compilation put together by The Guardian shows Mrs. Clinton juxtaposed between differing positions she has held on social issues and economic issues.  Mrs. Clinton is also receiving her largest campaign donations from the financial industry (according to OpenSecrets), which raises questions about how she would implement economic reform.  The former Secretary of State also has a history of hawkishness, often advocting for more militaristic measures in international conflicts such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and Ukraine (as catalogued by Abby Martin at RT).  Hillary Clinton may be the best funded among the Democrats, but she may not be as “liberal” as her supporters may believe.  In comparison, US Senator Bernie Sanders is on similar ground with Hillary Clinton (in terms of this election cycle) but extends his rhetoric much farthur.  He identifies as a socialist and is constantly advocating for an expansion of our government’s social welfare programs, citing those of Europe as examples.  While there may be an irrational fear among American capitalists against any kind of public policy that puts people over profits, Sanders breaks through that fear by appealing to Americans with an immense grassroots coalition (bypassing the corporate media gate keepers) and identifies socialist mechanisms already engrained in American culture.  Policies such as Medicare, which provides healthcare for senior citizens in the United States, are working in European nations providing healthcare for every citizen as a basic commodity.  Sanders also seems to have a more consistent history than his rival, Hillary Clinton, having been advocating on the side of union-backed, American jobs and against global militarism ever since he was elected mayor of Burlington, Vermont, in 1981.

“When Bernie Sanders, a self-declared socialist, served as mayor here in the 1980s, he often complained that the United States had its priorities wrong, that it should be diverting money from the military to domestic needs like housing and health care,” writes Katherine Seelye at The New York Times

“Mr. Sanders, frugal by nature, set the tone.  And together, they conducted the first audit of Burlington’s pension system in a quarter-century.  They moved the city’s money into higher-yielding accounts.  They raised fees for building permits and for utilities that dug up the city’s streets.  And they ended the cronyism by which the city’s insurance contracts had been let, opening them to competitive bidding.  Taken together, these moves saved the city hundreds of thousands of dollars (Seelye, The New York Times).

When Hillary Clinton’s militarist tendencies is compared to Bernie Sanders’ populism, it seems like an easy choice for me.  The former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, has not been able to distinguish himself from Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders, so his campaign seems kind of pointless to me.  I think this upcoming primary election between Clinton and Sanders will be a metaphorical fight over the soul of the Democratic Party.  As a nation, do we want to continue policies that follow corporate agendas that fuel the military industrial complex, or do we want to draw inspiration from the Rooseveltian progressives and create a more altruistic culture where the lower-classes are given what they earn as the backbone of the economy?